Date: 24th September 2011 at 8:55am
Written by:

I was in the hot seat on Friday night at Brighton as Leeds threw away a two goal lead and had to settle for a point with a Ross McCormack goal deep into stoppage time.

It was a game that was very hard to mark the players on. The team were once again ‘Jekyll and Hyde` with an exceptional first half performance, followed by a ‘keystones kop` performance in the second half.

In the first half, every player would have scored at least a seven, most an eight but in the second half, only a few would have made that mark.

Lonergan 6
Apart from picking the ball out the net three times, he had little to do. He could not be faulted for any of the goals.

Lees 7
He came up against a very tricky winger in Lua Lua, stuck to his task and was not at fault for any of the Brighton goals.

Bromby 5
After a good first half he had an absolute stinker in the second. He can take at least part blame for all three goals. Allowed Mackail-Smith to walk past him for the first, no need to jump in for the penalty for the second and was caught ball watching for the third.

O`Dea 6
O`Dea must take part of the responsibility for the first and third goals; Mackail-Smith ghosted in between him and Bromby for the first goal and allowed the Brighton player to get his cross in for the third.

White 8 Star Man
He is a transformed player this season. I wasn`t sure about him as a left back but he has bulked up since last season and is turning into a good defender. In the second half, he was the one player who ran at the Brighton defence and looked dangerous going forward.

Snodgrass 5
He got back and helped out Lees in the first half, who was having a hard time with Lua Lua. In the second half, he disappeared and as an attacking player, he just isn`t doing anything. Where has the real Robert Snodgrass gone? Not been the same player since earning his first Scotland cap in February.

Howson 6
I was watching Howson very closely as he`s been getting a lot of stick (from me included) for disappearing in games. I think we can forget about the attacking Howson we saw last season. He is playing much deeper this season and I think his partnership with Clayton is going to be a good one. Usually disappears when we go behind but did keep working hard with Clayton (they weren`t getting any help from the wide men). It was his good run that got us the equaliser, and well done for staying on his feet, as a lot of players would have gone down looking for a penalty.

Clayton 7
He gave us what we have now come to expect from Clayton. A good all round hard working performance.

McCormack 7
A fantastic strike for his first goal and he was in the right place at the right time for the second. Eleven goals in his last twelve Leeds games and he is full of confidence at the moment. I thought he worked hard with Keogh all evening but looked to be tired in the final fifteen minutes and was guilty of giving the ball away cheaply. I let him off though as he got the equaliser, what a transformation this season.

Keogh 7
Similar to McCormack, he worked very hard alongside McCormack and it was great to see him score his first goal for the club. He also looked tired in the second half and the ball just wasn`t sticking with him up front.

Pugh 6
A very good first half and he looked like Premiership quality but having not played for quite a while the pace of the game took its toll in the second half. I was surprised he last eighty minutes.


Becchio 5

He looked laboured and it was almost as it was his first game back from injury as he really struggled to make an impact. He had one of those appearances where he looked more interested in throwing himself to the ground rather than battling hard against the defenders.

Vayrynen 5
He looks a decent player and had one good shot on goal that produced a good save from Ankergren.

Not really on long enough and made no impact on the game in his ten minutes on the pitch.

From probably one of the best first half performances in a very long while, we went back to sitting off the players and allowing the opposition in to the game.

Bromby and O`Dea looked good together in the first half but they might as well have played in different half`s in the second as they were all over the place.

Both guilty of ball watching and they can take the blame between them for the first and third goals.

When is Simon Grayson going to get this defence sorted out? We all know we can score goals but as with last season, we cannot keep a clean sheet. What does he do next weekend now?
We have a number of centre backs at the club who are just not steeping up and marshalling the back four. I feel sorry for the two young full backs who are working hard and playing well but are being let down by more experienced centre backs.
We need an experienced centre back and a younger much more athletic centre back.
Personally, I would love to see Richard Dunne come in who is bench warming at Aston Villa.
He would control and marshall the back four as well as getting respect from his teammates. I am sure if he was put alongside any of the centre backs we currently have at the club, we would suddenly see a vast improvement in their performance.
I was very interested to hear the two managers talk this on Sky Sports. I though Gus Poyet`s comments were very interesting. His comments of, ‘we do not do 3-3, I can accept 1-1 but not 2-2 or 3-3`.

Simon Grayson (defender), Glynn Snodin (defender), so why can`t we sort out the back four? It`s not been for one season, it`s been for three or four and we somehow have managed to turn half decent defenders into poor ones.
Get someone like Lucas Radebe or Dominic Matteo into the club to work with them and sort it out.

Any chance we ever have of promotion will never happen until this area is sorted. All successful teams over the years have built from the back. We still seem to think, well we will score goals so let us hope, it`s one more than them.

That is the defence rant over now onto other players who need sorting out.

My biggest concern is the form of Robert Snodgrass. He isn`t the player we was seeing terrorise defender up to about February last season. Looks disinterested in helping out defensively and I cannot remember the last time I saw him get in behind a defender. Is he looking at other players like Johnson and Gradel moving on and waiting for a top team to come calling? Unless he gets his form back, he will struggle to find another championship side.

Overall, I would have taken a point at Brighton but came away disappointed despite equalising in injury time.

Give me a scrappy, scruffy 1-0 win with a good defensive performance any day of the week.

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